PM rules out inquiry into TPP

08 Oct, 2015 04:05 AM
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The parliament and the public have the right to hear the full story about the TPP

THE Turnbull Government says it is not inclined to have the Productivity Commission assess the economic benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, saying it will instead ask the parliamentary treaties committee to examine the agreement.

Australian Greens trade spokesman Peter Whish-Wilson on Wednesday called for a Productivity Commission inquiry to provide a full economic assessment of the benefits of the deal for Australia.

Mr Whish-Wilson said he had written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging him to refer the TPP to the commission.

"The parliament and the public have the right to hear the full story about the TPP, not just the spin from the government," he said.

However, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said that there was no particular appetite to send the deal to the commission at this stage, with the committee being the more appropriate body.

The Labor Government asked the PC to assess the value of bilateral and regional trade agreements in 2009.

Earlier Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said he wasn't prepared to lecture Queensland sugar belt Nationals MPs who have threatened to revolt against the trade deal.

Mr Joyce, who is visiting Indonesia, was responding after MPs George Christensen, Michelle Landry and Senator Matt Canavan refused to rule out crossing the floor of parliament to vote against ratification of the 12 nation deal because it failed to deliver big gains for sugar producers.

"While market access gains for sugar to the United States are not as substantial as many in the industry had hoped for, the partnership sees the largest ever new access granted to a sugar exporting country by the United States in an FTA," Mr Joyce said.

The sugar industry will be able to export an additional 65,000 tonnes of sugar to the US from 2025 plus a greater share of an unallocated quota when the agreement comes in to force. This is on top of an existing quota of 87,000 tonnes.

Canegrowers who were looking for up to 700,000 tonnes, describing the final deal as being "bittersweet".

Farmers did win better access to the Japanese market, however, which should lead to a cost reduction of $25 per tonne.

"What I can say is we are vastly further ahead under this deal with sugar than we were," Mr Joyce said.

Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri said the aim from the outset of the TPP was to rectify the exclusion of sugar from the US Australia free trade agreement.

"Despite all of the logical economic based arguments put forward by the Australian industry and government negotiators, the US sugar lobby was successful in blocking all but a small amount of additional market access for Australian sugar," Mr Schembri said.

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READER COMMENTS

John Michelmore
8/10/2015 10:47:53 AM

Of course an inquiry is ruled out, nothing good can come from having the electorate scrutinise the loss of our sovereignty, its better to keep all the bad bits hidden from view, otherwise they would have to be accountable!!
Philip Downie
8/10/2015 12:09:46 PM

The amount of hype is inversely proportional to the benefits of the TPP. Not every country is going to be billions better off and tariffs are not disappearing just coming down (slowly) to at least 10%. Seems the pollies can't decide on same sex marriage but when it comes to sovereignty they decide in secret, got their responsibilities backwards (to put it nicely).

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